March 14, 2009
LAREDO, Texas -- The Notre Dame men's golf team capped off an impressive week-long spring break trip with its second consecutive top-five finish, placing fifth at the Border Olympics which concluded on Saturday afternoon at the Laredo Country Club (par 72/7,241 yards). The Irish, who took runner-up honors at the Palmas del Mar Intercollegiate in Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon, covered more than 4,000 miles during this week's junket, and will return home with back-to-back top-five tournament finishes for the fourth time in the five-year tenure of head coach Jim Kubinski and the first since the final two events of last season (second at the Irish Invitational, fourth at the BIG EAST Conference Championship).
Notre Dame shot a final-round 299 (+11) on Saturday and carded a 54-hole score of 27-over par 891 (303-289-299), winding up 14 strokes back of tournament champion Baylor at the 16-team Border Olympics. No. 17 Arkansas (884) was second, while Lamar (886) and Texas-Arlington (888) rounded out the top five. The Irish did finish ahead of several other strong programs, including BIG EAST rival Louisville (tied for eighth at 896) and Vanderbilt (tied for 10th at 902). Notre Dame also logged its best finish in four visits to the Border Olympics, one of the premier stops on the college golf circuit.
Sophomore Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif./Los Altos) punctuated his second consecutive strong tournament outing, shooting a final-round 72 (E) to tie for 11th place in the 88-man field at five-over par 221 (77-72-72). Chen has posted his two best finishes of the season in the past two events, sharing 15th place earlier this week at Palmas del Mar.
Junior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) and sophomore Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) were part of a group that tied for 26th place at eight-over par 224. Fortner shot rounds of 75-72-77, while Zhang carded scores of 76-73-75 to match his best finish of the season (a placement he's now achieved in three of his five tournaments this year).
Freshman Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.)) tied for 42nd place at 12-over par 228 (75-78-75), while sophomore Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) ended the tournament in a 64th-place tie at 18-over par 234 (81-72-81). Freshman Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) competed as an individual participant this weekend, winding up in a tie for 77th place at 21-over par 237 (76-83-78).
Notre Dame won't have much time to rest, as the Irish head back on the road March 20-22 for the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational at the Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga. Live scoring for the tournament will be provided courtesy of Golfstat (www.golfstat.com), while complete results will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com) and the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) at the conclusion of each day's competition.
FINAL TEAM RESULTS: 1. Baylor 877 (297-282-298); 2. Arkansas 884 (295-292-297); 3. Lamar 886 (294-299-293); 4. Texas-Arlington 888 (286-302-300); 5. NOTRE DAME 891 (303-289-299); 6. Texas State 893 (297-295-301); 7. Washington State 894 (299-294-301); 8. (tie) Louisville 896 (297-288-311) and Arkansas-Little Rock 896 (302-298-296); 10. (tie) Vanderbilt 902 (297-296-309) and Rice 902 (303-300-299); 12. North Texas 904 (299-298-307); 13. New Orleans 905 (305-295-305); 14. New Mexico State 908 (306-302-300); 15. Houston 936 (309-309-318); 16. Houston Baptist 941 (308-302-331).
TOP 3 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 88): 1. Bobby Massa (UTA) 211 (66-73-72); 2. Jeff Gerlich (TSU) 215 (72-72-71); 3. Ethan Tracy (Ark) 216 (70-72-74); 11. (tie) Jeff Chen (ND) 221 (77-72-72); 26. (tie) Doug Fortner (ND) 224 (75-72-77) and Dustin Zhang (ND) 224 (76-73-75); 42. (tie) Max Scodro 228 (75-78-75); 64. (tie) Connor Alan-Lee (ND) 234 (81-72-81); 77. (tie) Chris Walker (ND)* 237 (76-83-78).